Four competition teams, four robots and 23 hours of programming. That's how one could sum up the online #AimtecHackathon Challenge that dominated the Aimtec offices from Friday to Saturday, May 14-15, 2021.
What a ride! You just can't convey the mood at the event. We came up with a brand new concept that worked completely online. Hackers were tasked with remotely controlling their robots and teaching them to autonomously perform different tasks. The base camp was set up right in our offices. For two days we provided support, organized streams, changed the robots' batteries and gradually revealed clues to hidden challenges to the participants via Discord.
Moving Station Plzeň
On the weekend of March 8–10 2019, the fourth annual #AimtecHackathon was held at Pilsen’s Moving Station. It centred on a programming marathon in which participants had fantastic access to technologies, mentors and space for creativity. As for their creations, these were up to them. This year both the jury and the public awarded their prizes to the team named PSI for their gaming app. Yet the Hackathon had plenty to offer the children and the public as well. Meanwhile, this year was also record-breaking in several ways.
And what sort of projects came out of #AimtecHackathon 2019? The team named PSI placed first with both the jury and the public. They developed a controller for multiplayer gaming. It lets friends play the same game and cooperate on its progress using just a smartphone – every player controls a part of the movement, for example walking or opening doors. Their HumanPad app is even available on Google Play, albeit still in a limited mode.
The jury awarded second place to KlaVíáR, which lets you play the piano in virtual reality, and third place went to a team with a smart refrigerator that will alert you in advance to approaching expiration dates for the groceries inside it. Other projects included, for example, an application for a music festival, a robot for use in education, and an industrial-robot controller with integrated artificial intelligence.
The partners for #AimtecHackathon 2019 were Alpha Industries, Amazon Web Services, Arduino-shop.cz, BigClown, Campo Arduino, Center of Robotics Pilsen, Cisco Systems (Czech Republic), DataScript, Desseq, eMan, Fanuc, the Faculty of Applied Sciences at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, the Faculty of Health Care Studies of the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, iNFINITE production, juicymo, nvias, OpenTechLab Jablonec nad Nisou, RVTECH, SentiSquare, SpeechTech, TrendMicro, VOŠ and SPŠE Pilsen.
Media partners: ABC Magazine, AIMagazine and ComputerWorld.
Moving Station Plzeň
This was the third year of the Aimtec-organised #AimtecHackathon in Pilsen. While it primarily provided a space for programmers and technologies, it included children’s events as well. The weekend also included presentations for the general public on the technologies that were shown. The winners of #AimtecHackathon developed projects for the practical application of these technologies in daily life and in sport.
Technologies in Practice and Teamwork
On Friday, March 9th, over 40 programmers met up at Pilsen’s Moving Station. The assignment was simple: dream up new uses for the technologies that were provided. Thanks to #AimtecHackathon’s partners, we were able to offer participants such technologies as a speech recognition system, a virtual reality set, a programmable drone, the Alexa personal assistant, and a tool for monitoring locations within buildings. It was all up to the individual teams which technologies they would use and how they would incorporate them into their projects.
During the opening evening, the programmers had an opportunity to get to know the technologies, and mentors for each technology were available throughout the weekend. It was likewise all up to the participants to divide up into teams and to think up the project concepts that they’d go on to present live at the end of the hackathon. The chance to try out a variety of devices wasn’t their only motivation; there were also valuable prizes awaiting the winners.
Programme for Children and the Public
While the programmers devoted themselves fully to their work on Saturday, we also provided a programme for the general public. Children aged five and up could try out virtual reality, controlling a robot and more. For our more “experienced” listeners, we provided #TechTalks – detailed presentations on individual technologies, on building your own robot and on the mysteries of the internet, including a wide range of topics from safe behaviours on the web, to the perils of flying drones, all the way to things like blockchain and Amazon Web Services.
Smart Cars, Homes and Sports Gear
It was interesting to see how the teams handled their projects and how their members cooperated. Most of the programmers did not know each other before #AimtecHackathon began, and so they had to come to terms with working in a team with strangers who had different approaches and skills. Making presentations in front other participants and the jury was far from simple as well. But the winning projects captivated us with their innovation and approaches. The winner for this year was the team named Trajectory Hunters, which came up with the idea of a digital trainer. Special sensors in the javelin they created can monitor that javelin’s position, speed and trajectory. Specialised software then lets athletes visualise and evaluate their work with the javelin (or other equipment) and then analyse their technique. Second place went to a smart doorbell that lets its owner interact with visitors via smartphone, and third place went to PES, a team with an autonomous, voice-controlled car. It can even head in to charge its batteries on command.
The partners for this year’s #AimtecHackathon were Amazon Web Services, Angee Technologies, Pilsen’s Robotics Centre, the Faculty of Applied Sciences at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, FOXON, Holodeck, JuicymoCZ, nvias, RVTECH, Sewio, SIMPLECELL, SpeechTech, U+ and two Pilsen-based schools – VOŠ and SPŠE.
Moving Station Plzeň
One weekend, 50 participants, 10 teams, 40 hours to solve a selected problem. Help came in the form of experienced mentors – and lots of Red Bull.
You won’t believe what all can be created in record time like this. Things like a VR game and an unstealable bike… while another team programmed a drone for stocktaking at warehouses. And a dustbin that can tell the city that it’s full. Participating here, you might find yourself programming a mobile app where people can see in real time whether there’s a free spot at the parking lot. Or taking a robot and teaching it to speak and handle stocktaking. Or maybe making sure packages are handled properly at the post, and thinking up ways to detect shaking in individual packages.
This event once again saw the participation of Štěpán Bechynský (Microsoft), who provided a practical presentation of how to get data out of sensors connected to an ESP8266 into the cloud, how to store the data and how to graph the data in real time. Google Developer Expert Tomáš Zvěřina (fnx.io) presented the Dart programming language and the Angular2 framework to all participants. Jiří Polcar provided the audience with an overview of Unity3D, while Radek Vozák presented the LoRaWAN IoT network for Pilsen and its surroundings; Petr Ferschmann (Dativery), meanwhile, spoke on his experiences with running serverless platforms built on AWS Lambda; Vojta Roček told about his startup named Stories; Pavel König (nvias) told us of how you can move ahead when all you’ve got so far is an idea; and together with Markéta Jedličková delivered a hands-on workshop for children. Children could try out programming in Minecraft, programming a robot and, thanks to Jan Husák (Holodeck.cz), virtual reality as well.
Moving Station Plzeň
Would you believe that a group of total strangers, working out of sheer enthusiasm, can create a game that lets you take a virtual walk through a warehouse – a game that makes use of Oculus DK2, Vuzix and Unity? And this with superb graphics and an advanced algorithm that generates a unique map on every run while also guaranteeing the space’s navigability?
Many of the experts at AimtecHackathon’s first year came in from a respectable distance; they included e.g. Štěpán Bechynský from Microsoft, Filip Procházka from Google Developer Group, Pavel Hrabina from IBM, Petr Ferschmann from ABRA Flexibee and Martin Dostál from the University of West Bohemia. They provided a number of presentations and workshops, and brought in lots of the latest technologies as well. Participants could, for example, try out a Google Tango tablet – the first of its kind in the Czech Republic. Additionally, they could see and touch an Arduino microcomputer, a Raspberry, and the very popular Nodemca – and from among other technologies e.g. the Firebase real-time database and the IBM Bluemix development platform.